Many people travel for business weekly, sometimes even daily, but do it alone. Upon arriving to a location, it is difficult to enjoy yourself when flying solo. Tripl, a new service just out of beta, is looking to make these travelers a little less lonely on the road. The idea? Use the power of Facebook to your advantage to compile a list of people you know in the area of the world you are in, enabling you to connect with ease.
How It Works
Login to Tripl using Facebook, verify your location, and add a few interests to get started. You are directed to your profile, showing connections by city, country, and region. Upon clicking on 'my city,' I am directed to a page listing people in my area. Friends from Facebook are listed, but of course, none of them use Tripl so I am given the option to recommend the service to them.
It tells me where they are (although I noticed a few that were incorrect, as Tripl was using their hometown rather than their current location as listed on Facebook.) I also noticed the first person on the list wasn't a friend at all, but I saw how close she was to me and was given the option to connect with her. Probably not going to happen, and kind of creepy.
Choose the 'Activity' tab to see what's happening in your selected area. When I clicked this tab, I saw mostly the activity of new members joining the site, but there were a few people who had added trips, like Gina from Detroit, MI, who I could see was traveling to Salem, MA for Halloween festivities back in October. I also saw a guy named Jeremy from New York was traveling to a wedding. Great, how exciting.
No Friends = No Fun
Upon choosing the 'recommendations' tab, you are brought to a place to suggest the service to your friends. Within this page is the 'network checkup' tab, a place to make you feel like the king of the world, or a total loser depending on how many connections you have.
Basically, the site looks at how many regions, countries, and cities your friends are from, and how many new friends you've gotten to join the site. As I have gotten no new friends to join the site, I see the following message: 'Wow, you're lifeless! You need to get some friends on Tripl quick!' I am told my diagnosis is 'Barely Moving.' Strange, I think having 192 connections is pretty decent, but apparently I need more friends.
I choose the 'Network' tab to see where my friends are located, organized by country. If I am traveling somewhere, I can add a trip, and choose to 'make my friends jealous' by sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social networking sites. I chose to make a trip to Canada, and it shows my trip on a map, and then a list of people from that area who I can choose to connect with.
No thanks, I'll pass. However, it showed the friend I wanted to visit, and all others from this area. I can click a button to share the dates and details of my trip, hoping that I can meet up with them during my time there. Kind of cool, but I'm still creeped out that it doesn't show my friends first. Does anyone contact a complete stranger to see what they're up to and if they want to hang out? I think not.
Has Potential to Be Useful
Tripl has potential to be a great site, helping millions connect with long lost friends or other interesting people and building a professional network anywhere you roam. However, until more users join Tripl, it will remain up in the air whether or not this idea is embraced by a public already swamped with social network-based sites to explore. One can just as easily send a Facebook message to someone they know in the area they are traveling to, alerting them of their trip and setting up a time and place to meet up and hit the town.